11th May 2018
All new homes in California will have solar power from 2020
The California Energy Commission has passed building codes requiring all new homes to be fitted with solar power from 2020. It is the first state in the USA to enact such a law.
Aiming to cut energy use in new homes by more than 50%, the California Energy Commission (CEC) this week adopted building standards that include a requirement for solar photovoltaic systems from 2020. The new energy efficiency standards – the first of their kind in the nation – will cut greenhouse gas emissions by an amount equivalent to taking 115,000 fossil fuel-powered cars off the road.
The codes, which take effect on 1st January 2020, focus on four key areas:
• Smart residential photovoltaic systems
The ventilation measures will improve indoor air quality, protecting homeowners from air pollution originating from both outdoor and indoor sources. For the first time, the standards also establish requirements for newly-constructed healthcare facilities.
"Under these new standards, buildings will perform better than ever, at the same time they contribute to a reliable grid," said Andrew McAllister, Commissioner at the CEC, who has previously administered the California Solar Initiative and Self-Generation Incentive Program. "The buildings that Californians buy and live in will operate very efficiently, while generating their own clean energy. They will cost less to operate, have healthy indoor air and provide a platform for 'smart' technologies that will propel the state even further down the road to a low emissions future."
For residential homeowners, based on a 30-year mortgage, the Energy Commission estimates that the 2020 standards will add about $40 to an average monthly payment. However, consumers will actually save about $80 on monthly heating, cooling and lighting bills.
"With this adoption, the California Energy Commission has struck a fair balance between reducing greenhouse gas emissions while simultaneously limiting increased construction costs," said California Building Industry Association CEO and President Dan Dunmoyer. "We thank the Commissioners and their staff for working with the building industry during the past 18 months and adopting a set of cost-effective standards that ensures homebuyers will recoup their money over the life of the dwelling."
In addition, the CEC also approved the 2018-2019 Investment Plan Update for the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program (ARFVTP). Now in its 10th year, the program has invested $750 million in 615 projects, covering many alternative fuels and advanced vehicle technologies.
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